Mikhail Gorbachev’s foreign policy toward the two Koreas moved from a pro‐North Korean policy to a new policy that demanded the establishment of official relations with Seoul. This research is designed to answer the dual question: How did Soviet policy on Moscow‐Seoul normalization change, and why? As Gorbachev progressively increased his power through tactful political maneuvers, he gained the self‐confidence and political clout needed to implement new policy toward Seoul. During 1988–1990, the Kremlin moved to normalize relations with Seoul through three stages: (1) establishment of formal economic relations by exchanging trade offices; (2) establishment of informal political relations by inviting South Korea’s prominent political leader to Moscow; and (3) conclusion of diplomatic ties. The Soviets intended to improve their ailing economy with South Korea’s economic assistance. In addition, Gorbachev was eager to join the Asian Pacific community as a full member with the help of South Korea.